Exhale
by Richard Fenwick


This morning the hummingbirds
argue at my feeder and swing in circles
of flight above the grass, as though
the red sugar water is a matter
of life and death, and perhaps for them
it is. In the middle of their match

you have written to say
it’s almost time, that the cancer
hurts you now and aches, that each breath
has become a fight beyond all reason.

Red water. A Breath. The wind moves
all the trees today like an exhale.

I would like someone to scaffold the forest.
I want to understand how one ton sounds
so much heavier than 2,000 pounds.

I am afraid of your coming death,
not because it reminds me of my own,
but because I can’t be as graceful as you.

I see you’ve learned the secret:
that the intake of air’s what makes us brave—
that all of the exhales are merely a given.






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